Capello: Atlético punish the first error of their opponents
The ex-Juventus coach has weighed up the Turin club's Champions League opponents Atlético Madrid and is wary of the dangers posed by Diego Simeone's side.
Former Juventus coach Fabio Capello has spoken about the Turin club’s last 16 Champions League opponents, Atlético Madrid, whom he considers a "dangerous" team capable of punishing "the first error" that their opponents make.
"Juventus-Atlético is a dangerous game. Juventus want to win the Champions League and the signing of [Cristiano] Ronaldo was in order to conquer Europe. But you have to be careful with Atlético," Capello said in an interview published this Tuesday in Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Simeone’s team are not interested in playing, they prefer to prevent the other team from playing and punishing their opponent’s first mistake. They have the right men to hit the counter-attack, such as [Antoine] Griezmann and Diego Costa.”
Capello highlights Atlético's new status
Capello, who coached Juventus from 2004 to 2006, also highlighted Atlético’s recent history in the Champions League, with two finals appearances in 2014 and 2016, both of which they lost to Real Madrid.
"In the last few years Atlético have reached Champions League semi-finals and finals, and when they were eliminated last year, they ended up winning the Europa League. Furthermore, the new stadium has given them a new status at the financial level," he said.
Messi "absolute number one" - Capello
The Italian coach, whose last managerial job was with Chinese club Jiangsu Suning before announcing his retirement on April 9, believes Real Madrid and Barcelona have been handed easier draws, against Ajax and Lyon, respectively.
"Real Madrid, despite their problems, are stronger than Ajax. The Dutch side are young and play well, but the defence give things away,” explains Capello. “Barcelona are always strong, and they also have [Lionel] Messi. What else can I say about Messi? For me he is a football genius – the absolute number one.”
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